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University of Connecticut Division of Student Affairs Center for Students with Disabilities

Policies and Procedures

Service Animal Policy and Procedure

Policy

Service animals are animals trained to assist individuals with disabilities in the activities of independent living. Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal means any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. No other species of animal may serve as a service animal. Animals, including dogs, that do not perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability but rather serve as assistance animals providing emotional support, comfort or companion, are not service animals. Service animals are not pets.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks;
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds;
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure;
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities;
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Individuals with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animals on all University of Connecticut campuses where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go, unless the University determines that permitting the service animal poses a health or safety concern, the service animal is not housebroken or cannot be effectively controlled by the owner. The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a service animal in locations with health and safety restrictions, such as food preparation areas and laboratories, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate department representative(s) in collaboration with the CSD.

An individual with a disability may be asked to remove a service animal from the University if the animal cannot be effectively controlled by its owner, or the animal is not housebroken. If the University determines that a service animal must be excluded, the individual with a disability will be provided the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. A service animal shall be under the control of its owner. A service animal shall have a harness, leash or other tether, unless either the individual is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the owner’s control (e.g., voice control, signals or other effective means).

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal. In making a decision whether to permit accompaniment of a service animal, the University shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability. The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of a disability, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. The University shall not charge a surcharge for the service animal, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees. If the University normally charges individuals for damages caused by a pet, an individual with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by the service animal. The University will give priority consideration to the specific methods requested by a student, but cannot guarantee that a particular accommodation will be granted if the University determines it is not reasonable or that other suitable methods are available.

Procedure

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Connecticut engages in an interactive and collaborative process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of a service animal.

  • Students requesting to use a service animal should register with the CSD at MyAccess.csd.uconn.edu, which can be accessed from the CSD website, www.csd.uconn.edu, or by completing a brief Student Information form at the CSD, located in the Wilbur Cross building, Room 204.
  • Students must provide documentation on official letterhead that is signed by a qualified and credentialed practitioner who is not a family member of the student. Documentation must include the following:
    • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional that the service animal is required due to a disability.
    • A description of the work and tasks the animal has been trained to perform.
  • Once appropriate documentation is received, a professional staff member from the CSD will contact the student to discuss the request. Students will also receive an e-mail notification from the CSD regarding the outcome of the request.
  • The CSD will notify the student’s faculty and the Department of Residential Life (for those students who live on campus) if he/she is approved for this accommodation.
  • The Department of Residential Life will contact the student in order to complete a Service Animal Agreement, http://reslife.uconn.edu.

Student Responsibilities

  • Students using or seeking to use a service animal on campus are encouraged to contact the CSD prior to start of each semester and session to discuss course enrollment. This is particularly true when the student has reason to believe that he or she will need the accompaniment of a service animal in areas that may be subject to health and/or safety regulations, such as but not limited to, research laboratories where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, and rooms with heavy machinery. The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a service animal in locations with health and safety restrictions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate department representative(s) in collaboration with the CSD.
  • It is the student’s personal responsibility to immediately clean up or to solicit the proper assistance for cleaning up if their service animal defecates or becomes ill and either vomits and/or becomes incontinent.
  • Students living in a University residence hall or apartment should contact the appropriate Residential Life operations center in order to identify an appropriate location for elimination of waste, or to request assistance with cleaning up after the service animal in those situations in which the student is unable to perform these responsibilities.
    • Northeast Operations Center – 486-5558 - Busby Suites, Charter Oak Apartments, East Campus, Hilltop Apartments, Mansfield Apartments, North Campus, Northwest Quad, Northwood Apartments and Towers
    • Southwest Operations Center – 486-5556 – Alumni Quad, CT Commons, Hilltop, Garrigus Suites, McMahon, Shippee, Buckley, South Campus and West Campus
  • Students must complete the Service Animal Agreement, http://reslife.uconn.edu with the Department of Residential Life.
  • Students are responsible for the procedures detailed in the Service Animal Agreement.

CSD Responsibilities

  • Provide verification and information to faculty and staff regarding students who are approved for this accommodation.
  • Assist in resolving any issues that arise regarding this accommodation.

Any questions regarding this policy and procedure should be directed to Jennifer Lucia, Associate Director, at (860) 486-2020 or jennifer.lucia@uconn.edu.

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